Canada’s cities and towns offer travelers a diverse choice of experiences, from chic, cosmopolitan centers to mountain resorts and maritime cities. At the heart of the country is Toronto, Canada’s largest city and the pinnacle of Canada’s arts and culture scene. Nearby, in the French-speaking province of Québec, Montreal is known for fashion, culture and history. To the west, Vancouver and Victoria offer two very different perspectives on West Coast cities, but each has something unique to offer. The mountain towns of Whistler and Banff are places to immerse yourself in beautiful mountain scenery and enjoy a bit of the great outdoors. Eastern Canada has a culture of its own, with a rich maritime heritage and friendly people.
For beauty, climate, a fun atmosphere and plenty of things to do, you can’t go wrong planning a trip to Vancouver. It is located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It is an active city, where locals enjoy the outdoors all year round. Sunbathers can pamper themselves on the beach in the summer and skiers can hit the nearby slopes in the winter. At any time of the year, you can walk the seawall or stroll through the towering trees in Stanley Park, enjoy fine dining or a casual meal while watching the sunset, or find fantastic shopping, from the markets of Granville Islandto the high-end shops in the city center. If you’re staying in the city for more than a few days and are looking for interesting side trips, take a day trip from Vancouver to some of the nearby hot spots like Whistler, Victoria, or some of the small towns in the mountains or Fraser Valley.
2 Niagara Falls
Canada’s most famous natural attraction, the majestic Niagara Falls has been attracting tourists almost since it was discovered. The great wall of water crashing over the falls is an astonishing sight, and the view and access for visitors was stunning. You can literally walk to the edge of the falls, separated only by a cast iron railing, and see the water as it disappears over the top. The city that grew up here, also called Niagara Falls, has been heavily influenced by the people and atmosphere that the falls have created. Stuntmen and daredevils have tempted their fate on the falls over the decades, and as a result, a carnival-like atmosphere has come to define this unique town.
As Canada’s largest city, Toronto is the country’s cultural hot spot, hosting ballet, opera, symphony and Broadway shows. Add in extraordinary shopping, fine dining and fantastic museums, and the entertainment is endless. In recent years, Toronto’s waterfront has undergone continuous development and now offers beautiful walking areas, restaurants and, in the summer, outdoor concerts and cultural performances. Just outside the city center, in both directions of the city, are beautiful beaches, perfect for hot summer days. In the winter, a public skating rink comes alive outside City Hall and unique winter events, including the popular Winterlicious , add to the fun.
Montreal is a unique city, with a beautiful old historic district dating back to the 1600s and a modern city center with extensive underground shops. Old Montreal is the main tourist attraction, with cobbled streets, fantastic old buildings and horse-drawn carriage rides year round. Montreal is also home to a large number of fashion designers and the historic streets are lined with expensive boutiques and quaint hotels and restaurants. Montreal is located in the French-speaking province of Québec and Montreal has its own cultural identity, but English-speaking visitors can easily communicate with anyone in the tourism industry.
The charming mountain town of Banff, in the eye-catching Banff National Park, is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the Rocky Mountains and see some of the most beautiful scenery in Canada. This is undeniably a tourist city and caters to international travelers from all over the world. Just a short distance from the city are two of Canada’s most prominent ski resorts: Lake Louise and Sunshine Village. In summer, the nearby turquoise lakes and glacier-capped mountains are a glorious sight. But you don’t even have to leave town to enjoy a gondola ride to the top of a mountain for dinner, soak in a hot spring pool, find great shopping, explore scenic hiking trails, and possibly see moose and forest caribou that often find their way to the city.
6 St. John’s
In Canada’s easternmost province of Newfoundland and Labrador lies the historic and friendly city of St. John’s. This is the main gateway for air travelers to the island of Newfoundland, but many people come simply to enjoy the city. Colorful buildings line the sloping streets that run along hills, overlooking the harbour. The city also has plenty of historic sites and attractions, including Signal Hill , but the real draw is the vibrant atmosphere, people and maritime culture that this city has to offer. makes mainland Canada so unique.
Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, is home to a number of notable national museums and historic sites, as well as Parliament Hill and enjoys a beautiful location on the Rideau Canal. It’s also a small town, making it easy to navigate and fun to explore. Summer is a great time to visit, with a slew of events held throughout the season, including the Tulip Festival in the spring and the always lavish Canada Day Celebrations on July 1. In winter, if the weather is cold enough, the canal turns into a 7.8-kilometer skating rink and in February, the annual Winterludecelebrations draw huge crowds. There’s no bad time to visit Ottawa, and it’s only a few hours by car or train from Toronto.
British Columbia’s beautiful capital city has a quaint, small-town vibe, perhaps due to its island location. Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, the city enjoys a mild year-round climate, with wet mild winters and warm, glorious summers. The views are breathtaking in every direction, looking out over the harbor, south across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Washington State, or across the mountains of mainland British Columbia. Most of the tourist activity is centered around Victoria’s Inner Harbor, home to the Houses of Parliament and the historic Empress Hotelare. A walk along the waterfront on a sunny day is beautiful. Just outside the city center are beaches and beautiful coastal areas, as well as parks and walking areas.
Halifax is a great city for anyone looking for an introduction to Canada’s Maritime Provinces. Halifax’s waterfront is the city’s main tourist hub, especially during the summer months, with a few historic buildings and plenty of activity. Overlooking the city is the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site , one of the city’s main attractions. Outside the city are a number of small coastal villages that give a good idea of life in the Maritimes. One of the most famous villages is Peggy’s Cove , home to the most photographed lighthouse in the Maritimes. A little further afield are Lunenburg and Mahone Bay, also well worth a visit. A day trip from Halifax is highly recommended.
10 Quebec City
Like Montreal, Québec City is steeped in history and located in the French-speaking province of Québec. This is the provincial capital and a city with a history dating back to the early 17th century. The old buildings and curving, cobbled streets make this one of Canada’s most charming capital cities. One-third the size of Montreal, Québec City is also relatively small and easy to navigate. While summer is the busy season, the famous winter carnival, the Carnival de Québec , attracts huge crowds and is the city’s most famous event.
11 White horse
A visit to Whitehorse offers a chance to see life in Canada’s far north. This is the capital of the Yukon and also a gateway to areas further north, including Alaska and the beautiful Nahanni National Park. The town’s history dates back to the Klondike gold rush, when prospectors made their way here on their way to Dawson City. Many of the city’s attractions offer an insight into the gold rush days, and beyond the city limits are some beautiful natural areas to explore. If you’re lucky, the night sky will come alive with a display of northern lights.
Whistler has long been known as a world-class ski destination and was the site of many of the ski resorts during the 2010 Winter Olympics hosted by Vancouver. Despite this reputation, Whistler is an equally impressive and popular summer destination, with hiking, biking, golfing and many other activities on offer. The village has grown over the years and is now a lively, high-end resort with a variety of hotels, restaurants and shops. The Whistler-Blackcomb ski slopes are known for their incredible terrain and bring skiers from all over the world. Connecting the two hills, the Peak-2- Peak Gondola is a 2.7-mile, 11-minute ride with spectacular views and is open to skiers or non-skiers all year round.
13 Charlottetown en Prince Edward Island
If you’re going to visit Charlottetown, you might as well take the time to explore the entire province of Prince Edward Island. PEI is a summer playground, with beautiful beaches and interesting historical sites, including the fictional home of Anne of Green Gables in PEI National Park . Charlottetown is the capital and main city, but has an almost small-town feel, with numerous Victorian-style historic buildings. PEI is small enough to see the entire island on a short vacation. Many visitors, especially families, rent beach houses or cottages on PEI during the summer months.
In the interior of British Columbia lies the beautiful city of Kelowna. This city is a favorite place for Canadians, but less known internationally. Picturesque location on the shores of Lake Okanagan and surrounded by rolling mountains, Kelowna draws tourists during the summer months when it is possible to hike, play golf or enjoy the lake. Renting a houseboat to explore the surrounding waters is a popular summer vacation in this area. In the winter, the surrounding mountains are a skiers’ playground, with the popular nearby ski resorts of Big White and Silver Star within easy reach.